How to Get More Coaching Clients (in 5 Simple Steps)

You are an awesome coach.

You *just need* a few more clients!

(Or even one client).

But how do you find them? 

Seriously? How??

After working with 3000+ clients and being a full-time coach for over 8 years, I’ve seen it all, and I’m here to help. Let’s get you more coaching clients!

But first: The big idea 

The big idea is this: Getting more (or even one) coaching clients depends on two crucial systems.

System #1 is Marketing. This is how you tell the world about your coaching and invite people to learn more about your business, so that they can get to know the awesome coach that is you.

System #2 is Conversion, which is a fancy word for sales. This is where you make people offers and help them decide to say yes to hiring you.  

So, this is the formula I want you to remember: The more people who know about you, the more chances you get to make offers. The more offers you make, the more clients you have! 

Bottom line: If we can boost your marketing numbers and your conversion numbers, you’ll get more clients! 

DO NOT PANIC. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Let’s dive in, shall we?

how to get more coaching clients

  1. Know who you serve

    Yes, you need to niche! There are so many reasons to niche, but the bottom line is that it’s really hard to market your work as a coach without a niche. 

    Here’s why: Your niche determines where you spend your marketing time. Marketing time = what podcasts you might guest on, what Facebook groups to join, where you might give speeches, and so on and so forth.

    Let me give you an example of what I mean: Imagine if you were to say to me “I help people find clarity and abundance in their lives! Where should I market?” My answer would be “I have no idea.”

    Why?

    Because “people” is literally everyone on the planet and “clarity and abundance in their lives” is …. I don’t know. What does that even mean? It’s hard for me to see who you are trying to help and what you are helping them achieve, and if I can’t see them or the goal, then I can’t help you find them.

    But, on the other hand: if you were to say “I help baby boomers build wealth and confidence so that they can have a great retirement” ….which, by the way, includes helping them find clarity and abundance in their lives, you’ve just made it clear who you serve. And then it makes it easy to say: “Awesome! I know exactly who that is and I can help you find places to meet these clients.” 

    For example: If you like to speak, I might recommend that you pitch the AARP or Rhodes Scholar to give a talk or a webinar. If you like to write, we might have you guest blog on sites like RetiredBrains.com. You get the idea! Now that we know your niche, we know where you can spend your marketing time so we can find you more potential clients.

    But it all starts with knowing who you serve.

  2. Make marketing fun (so it’s consistent)

    Marketing is tiring! It’s easy to feel like you are doing all of the right things and not getting results, and then you give up. Don’t give up! Instead, make marketing fun for yourself by marketing from a place of strength.

    So, ignore what other coaches are doing for a second, and focus on you. Which of these four things do you enjoy doing?

    1. Social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
    2. Long-form writing (blogs/articles)
    3. Speaking (to large or small groups)
    4. Networking/building relationships 

    Pick your favorite way to communicate, and start there. Throw the rest out for now. Why? Because you don’t have to do all of the things to be a successful coach, and it’ll kill you to try! But I have good news, the 80/20 rule holds true in marketing, like with most things in life. What this means, is that most of your clients will come from ONE marketing channel, so if you are amazing at that channel, you’ve not only made your life easier, but you’ve also gotten more clients.

    So, if you love to speak, spend your time doing that! Do webinars or other socially safe events, and focus your efforts on crafting a great talk, pitching your talk, and learning how to sell coaching from a talk. These things will make you a great speaker, so you’ll stand out.

    If you love to use social media, do that! Learn the ins and outs of your preferred social media channel and how it works. What are the hashtags you need to know? How often should you post? What types of posts get the best engagement? Why? Knowing these things will make you great at social media…so you’ll stand out. 

    Also: When you enjoy marketing you’ll do more of it, more consistently, which is important.

    Why is this important?

    Because people take time to warm up to you, and very few people will take action the first time they see your social media post, or watch your youtube channel. 

    So we need you out there, putting out great marketing content consistently, to connect with your audience and build trust and rapport. The more trust, the more people will click to your website to find out more!

    And that’s when you can begin making offers.

    Note: Need more in-depth marketing help beyond what one blog can provide? Come and watch this fabulous and free Marketing Masterclass all about how to find paying coaching clients. It’s painless promise!

    Okay, now let’s work on increasing your conversions.

  3. Make offers using real words, not coach language

    So many coaches use coach language when speaking to non-coaches simply because we are used to it. We talk about “blocks” and “limiting beliefs”, we speak of “getting to clarity” or “abundance as the goal”.

    But our clients don’t speak that way. 

    They don’t use words like “blocks” or “beliefs” – instead they say they want to lose weight, or get promoted, or find a purpose in their work. They don’t know what “blocks” or “limiting beliefs” are, but they do know they don’t want to be stuck in a job they hate or constantly second-guessing themselves anymore.

    Dan and Chip Heath, in their book “Made to Stick” refer to this habit as the “Curse of Knowledge.” What this means is that you assume those around you have the same knowledge of your industry as you do.

    But… our coaching clients don’t know coaching. So, we can’t use coaching terminology when speaking to them, because they don’t understand. And if they don’t understand, they don’t buy!

    So, to get them to really want to buy your coaching…

    …use THEIR words. What do they say their struggles are when they are on the phone to a friend or spouse? What exact words do they use to describe their goal or desires? If you don’t know, invite folks in your niche out for a coffee (or virtual coffee) and ask. Have a conversation so you can learn. Write down the words you hear them say most often. 

    Then, use what you learn and watch people get more excited about working with you…because you are speaking their language!

  4. Coach people to a decision

    We don’t want to be pushy in sales, so it’s important not to be so focused on making the sale that you forget about serving your client.

    We want to put our potential client’s best interests first, and coaching may or may not be in their best interest.

    But putting their interests first doesn’t mean that you agree with them when they say: “I don’t know, this sounds expensive” or “I don’t know if I have the time.”

    No!

    Instead, put on your coaching hat and dig in. Why don’t they think they have the time? How important is it to reach their goal? What have they spent money on instead? Is their spending in alignment with their stated goals or desires? It’s up to you to ask!

    And if they need more time, that’s okay too. Then it’s time for you to FOLLOW UP. Ask them how much time they need to decide, or what other information would help them make a decision. Set a date to get back in contact, and then get back in contact. 

    No matter what you do, coach them to a decision. The decision could be yes to working with you, or it could be a no, and that’s okay! It means they are free to find another solution.

    And that’s important, because “free to find another solution” means they aren’t stuck.

    Don’t leave them in indecision, because that means they won’t take action! And no action means no progress.

    Speaking of action….

  5. KEEP TAKING ACTION

    Your coaching business isn’t going to be a success overnight. So please know that it’s a numbers game that you have to keep playing. You need to market and sell to a lot of people, to get just *some* of them to say yes!

    So don’t give up. Instead reflect, what’s been working? What’s not working? Where do you have more to learn? How will you learn it? 

    Every single successful coach started out with zero clients, and then got more over time. So give yourself time, you can do this!

And if you have more to learn (and you do)….

Then come on over to Coach Pony and read this free training on why people DON’T pay for life coaching, and what successful coaches should offer them instead – hint: It includes FIVE separate systems. There’s no opt-in required, just click and go!

By Christie Mims
October 27, 2020
Christie Mims is the founder of Coach Pony, the best community for new life coaches who want to have a real business with paying clients, instead of a vanity business with two blogs and no clients. In addition to that, she's a Forbes Top 100 Career Coach and the founder of The Revolutionary Club, a career coaching business that serves smart people who want to find their passion. Need a business boost of your own? Grab this fancy-pants free guide on how to actually make money as a life coach and start helping people already! (You seem pretty awesome!).

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